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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Changing Genres - For Better or Worse?

I'm coming up to my first anniversary as a published author.  A published romance author, that is.  My first novel, The Apple Tree, was released last December and since then I've had three further romances published.  Now does that make me a romance writer, I wonder?

I never saw myself as such, but it seems that my readers do.  Not that I mind that, but I worry a bit about changing hats.  Last month I published a short science fiction story (Surveillance) with my lovely son and it was such a great experience that we'd love to write more in that particular sub-genre of sci-fi - providing, of course, people want to read our work.  But what I have found is that reaching a whole new set of readers is not easy and the last thing I want to do is upset readers who only want romance but are faced with something else.

Next month I plan to publish another speculative fiction (Killing Jenna Crane) and quite frankly, I'm feeling rather nervous!  Although it centres around romance, it's by no means a traditional romance, more what I would classify as a psychological drama and I wonder what readers will make of it.  I intend to try to make it clear that it's not a romance, so that no one will feel cheated.  At the same time I hope that readers will be open to trying slightly new and difference genres and that I find lots of new readers without driving away my old ones.

Releasing a new book is always exciting (and rather nerve-racking) and moving away from a tried and tested formula also takes courage.   I just hope it will prove worth it.

Here is an extract from  the short story, Surveillancein which six year old Harrison's parents discuss their fears about losing their second child.

Long after Russell had retired for the night after a further generous helping of single malt, Brandon and Claire sat in the study talking.  Brandon preferred the study, not just because it was completely safe and soundproof, but because it commanded surveillance of the entire house.  If Harrison awoke or Russell decided to go for a wander, he could be ready to act immediately.

"I wish we could just...disappear," Claire said, panic sounding plainly in her voice.

"You know that's impossible, Claire.  There is nowhere we could hide." He above anyone knew what a surveillance society meant in terms of hiding from the authorities.  "Dammit, I just hadn't banked on Russ coming back so soon.  It gives us so little time to think of something."

"Can't we put him off?  Maybe say we have something else planned?"

"The last thing we want to do is arouse his suspicions by doing something out of character," Brandon pointed out. "He's only trying to do his job, after all."

"Then what are we supposed to do?  Sit back and let them take him away from us?  Just because he's too clever?"

Brandon gnawed at his lower lip as he glanced absently at his bank of screens.  "We can't change the law.  We've known the risks all along.  We chose not to deny his thirst for knowledge, knowing it could be his biggest threat...correction, our biggest threat."

"Didn't some old writer say the law was an ass?" Claire's voice sounded bitter as she rubbed at her temple to smooth away the pain that was threatening to engulf her.  "There's no way we can let him be used as some experimental laboratory guinea pig, just because he's so clever!" Tears began to slide down her face, causing her husband to groan in love and concern for her misery, which no one understood better than he.

"Don't worry, darling.  We're not giving up yet.  There has to be a way to fight this and I'm determined to find it.  If there is a way to protect him, I'll find it.  I promise you that, Claire, if I have to die in the process."

Surveillance is available from Amazon, Smashwords and other e-book outlets, for  just  99 cents (£0.77).


Holly Robinson said...

This is a very interesting question, Lynette. I self-published a novel in the women's fiction genre, then sold a novel to Penguin in the same genre. I started writing a paranormal novel--spent nearly two years on it--but, when I showed the synopsis to my editor at Penguin, she turned it down because it was outside the "brand" they were creating for me, and instead bought another one that was in the same women's fiction genre. Writers certainly do leap from one genre to the next, and I think this is increasingly true in this exciting time of self publishing. Let me know how it all goes. Best of luck!

Paula Martin said...

I admire you for experimenting with different genres, Lyn. Romance is my 'natural' genre, and even including some mystery/suspense in my latest release caused me a few headaches!
Very intriguing excerpt too!

ManicScribbler said...

Thanks Holly, and very best of luck to you as well. It looks like we have to change our names along with our genres.

ManicScribbler said...

Hi Paula, thanks for commenting. I think romance can always do with a shot of mystery/suspense to keep the tension going. I wish you the very best of luck with your latest release.

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